So, we have barely just started to get professional sports back on track. And then, in the midst of a Major League Baseball game between the Twins and the Pirates, in comes a drone. It seems someone thought it would be a good idea to fly what appears to be a DJI Mavic Pro over the field in Minneapolis during the game — and that caused a drone delay.
Someone, somewhere, knows who did this. That’s because someone, somewhere outside of Target Field decided it would be a good idea to fly a drone into the area a little more than halfway through the game. The incident happened at the top of the fifth inning when the Twins were ahead 5-1. Out of the blue — and we mean literally out of the blue — in came a drone flying over the action. Officials quickly called for a postponement of play until any risk posed by the drone flying over people was gone (to say nothing of the distraction factor).
While the DJI Mavic Pro went buzzing around, some of the players tried to take it down with baseballs. But smacking a drone in the air is tougher than nailing a strike. And so the drone kept flying, delaying the game for about nine minutes. The Pirates even took to social media:
And that sparked…
A couple of witty responses, including this one from the Colorado Rockies:
And that wasn’t all.
As we all know, this just wasn’t cool. It’s against the rules, it messes up play, inconveniences everyone – and gives drones a bad name. Here’s the actual incident:
We’re unlikely to ever know what the pilot was thinking. It’s possible they thought this might be okay because there was no one in the stands. While that would have mitigated risk, it does not negate the fact this was an illegal flight.
Facilities that want to protect themselves against drones are increasingly going with technology that can either detect or disable a UAV. DJI’s Aeroscope system, for example, has been put into use at airports and during air shows. It’s capable of detecting not only the make, position, and trajectory of any DJI model drone, but also pinpoint the location of the pilot. When this system was used temporarily at an international air show in Canada, organizers and law enforcement were very impressed with the results. (FYI, if you interested, the person at DJI to contact is Jeremy Gulley.)
Take ’em down…
There are, of course, other options.
For those who prefer jamming with electronic signals, companies like Bravo Zulu Secure have products that can be dispatched — on land or at sea — to detect and disable drones from a distance.
Tools like these are becoming a standard deterrent for cargo ships navigating parts of the high seas known for non-baseball playing ‘Pirates.’ Plenty of ocean-going bandits have taken to using drones to scope out potential targets from several kilometers away to determine the defense capabilities of these ships. Disruptive weapons like those above can simply bring those drones down before they send back data to criminals.
The pilot outside Target Park wasn’t in the same league as high-seas pirates, but they have one thing in common: They were definitely breaking the law.